Video: Argentina v Wallabies Scrum Talk - Green and Gold Rugby
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Video: Argentina v Wallabies Scrum Talk

Video: Argentina v Wallabies Scrum Talk

Let’s look at the scrums from Saturday’s test match in Mendoza. The general consensus is we struggled for most of the game but came back in the final quarter. But the only way to be sure is to look at the scrums one at a time.

Scrum 1

Feed – Australia

Won by – Australia

Completed – Yes

The surface at Mendoza was a problem from the very first scrum. This scrum was on its third reset before we got one kind of completed. The first two reset were because of foot slippage from the Pumas tighthead and at first I thought the same thing had happened here. Frankly it still could be just a foot slip that bought the scrum down or it could be a lost bind. What I can tell you is it started with James Slipper and Ramiro Herrera and continued through the entire frontrow.

Verdict – Australia

Scrum 2

Feed – Australia

Won by – Argentina

Completed – No

Jaco Peyper awarded a free kick against James Slipper on this one for ‘Chasing’. Which means he thought Slipper had continued to move forward after the initial hit instead of maintaining his position until the scrum was fed. I disagree but I’m not the ref.

Verdict – Argentina

Scrum 3

Feed – Australia

Won by – Australia

Completed – Yes

This is where things start to get interesting. Slipper had a good angle on Ramiro Herrera but it didn’t matter! Herrera powers straight through him bending his back and destroying his angle. It looks to be a planned move because Marcos Ayerza on the looshead side quickly follows. To the Wallabies credit they take the pressure and move straight back instead of corkscrewing towards Greg Holmes side of the scrum. If McCalman hadn’t of picked up quickly this would have been an Argentine penalty.

Verdict – Tied

Scrum 4

Feed – Australia

Won by – Australia

Completed – Yes

Argentina tried the same tactics as last scrum but Slipper was ready for it this time. He absorbed the hit and Ramiro Herrera lost his bind and found hinself in at bad angle and dropped the scrum. Peyper could see the ball a let Australia clear the scrum. This one could have easily been a free kick to Australia.

Verdict – Australia

Scrum 5

Feed – Argentina

Won by – Argentina

Completed – no

The Aussies got caught chasing the hit again. But in all honesty I really don’t think it’s all their fault. Crafty Argentine’s!

Verdict – Argentina

Scrum 6

Fed by – Argentina

Won by – Argentina

Completed – yes

We were just over powered in this scrum. Watch Marcos Ayerza get under Greg Holmes and drive him out of his prime position. Then notice first Skeltons and then Simmons butts pop up as the can no longer take the pressure. To their credit the Wallabies kept the scrum straight but this was a very pretty scrum from Los Pumas.

Verdict – Argentina

Scrum 7

Fed by – Argentina

Won by – Argentina

Completed – Yes

Barely completed. This was a huge lesson for Scott Sio. Ramiro Herrera moved him out of a good position and unsettled him so much you can see his outside leg searching for firm ground but it’s way too late. Sio was lucky to get out of this without an injury as he drops his bind with Herrera still moving forward and Simmons and Pocock still driving in the other direction.

Verdict – Argentina

Scrum 8

Fed by – Australia

Won by – Australia

Completed – yes

Finally some  relief for the Wallaby scrum as Ramiro Herrera and Marcos Ayerza take a well earned rest. Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro and Matías Díaz just aren’t up to the same standard while Sio and Sekope Kepu are on par with the starting props in this game. You can see the set up is higher and the Wallabies power through with the easier angles and sheer off as Argentina try to go with their natural wheel.

Verdict – Australia

Scrum 9

Fed by – Argentina

Won by – Australia

Completed – No

The final scrum of the game. You can see Agustín Creevy trying to bring the props down to a better angle in the set up. He’s nearly hanging off them. But again their set up is too high and the Wallaby front row gets underneath them and drive through. Adding to their problems is a poor set up in the second row. There is no clean straight lines through the scrum but a series of highs and lows that collapse like an accordion.

Verdict – Australia

What did I learn?

Because this is about me and not you!

  • The Argentine’s can scrum (duh) but just like in the game against the Springboks our reserves were better than their reserves.
  • We can’t get too carried away calling for our starting props to be replaced by our reserves. Sio was owned in his one scrum against the Pumas ‘A’ scrum. Imagine if that had happened in scrum 1
  • Jaco Peyper could have blown a lot more penalties but instead chose to let the game flow. Well done Jaco.
  • The Wallaby scrum is still showing signs of improvement. Especially in the backrow. But the binding, the angles both in the frontrow and the planes across the tight five’s backs has also been much better.
  • TB

    Sully,
    I know we’re only two games into the international season but it seems to me there are a lot less resets this year so far compared to last year. This could be the refs influence or a better scrum from the wallabie. Do you have the numbers comparing this year to last year?

    • There were a few resets in this game but I thought Peyper did a great job on the scrums. I have no data on resets.

      • RobC

        There were def more resets vs Pumas last year in Gold Coast. Forget about Mendoza. We were hammered for the whole match

        • Spank

          Looking at scrums this year right across the board they are better than in past years. Saw that in Super 15. Still too complicated though and the one big blight on the game (just as they are in Rugby League as a joke).

  • harro

    Top article Sully. One of your best! I reckon it’s Simmons’ arse comes up first in scrum 6, I know that sounds a little picky but given the past criticism of Skelton’s scrummaging it’s worth noting. Scrum 7, Sio is extremely lucky. He was almost bent in half backwards! Not sure it affected the big fella, though. I agree that Peyper did well to let the scrums go. So overall it was 4-4 with one tie, 3-2 to the Pumas with one tie in the first half. Not as bad as I thought

    • I think your right. But it really doesn’t make a lot of difference because they wrre just reacting to what was happening up front.

  • Red Kev

    Good article.
    There are a few things about the Australian scrum that I have noticed over the past two matches and I shall be most interested to see how we perform against the All Blacks in two weeks time.

    Firstly, the scrum is reverting to type with a tight side drive the “battle”. In my opinion the Wallaby scrum is set defensively to counter this. Simmons plays tight side at the Reds but loose side for the Wallabies because he is the best scrummaging lock in the country.

    Secondly, it was notable that against the Springboks the scrum held when Hooper engaged his shoulder and pushed (or when Fardy packed) behind Slipper; but it got into trouble without backrow support. Against the Pumas even that was not enough, their tight side drive was just too strong.

    Thirdly, I agree that there is very little difference between the Wallaby bench and starting props. This is a strength for us at the back end of matches, but will leave us over-matched against the stronger scrummaging nations’ starting packs.

    Finally, Slipper. He is an axe in defence but appears run down. I assume he is playing with a slight injury, but I know he has had a hell of a lot of rugby with no rests for the last two seasons. It might be worth giving Toby Smith a few caps and resting Slipper against the USA, Fiji, and Uruguay (I doubt Slipper or Cheika will rest him for the Bledisloe games).

    • USARugger

      Have heard Slipper is booked for a pair of shoulder recons post RWC.

      • RobC

        Also got issues with knee Achilles groin. He really needed a break. Im curious to see which team they announce next

        • Spank

          In that case he really should be on notice as a ‘possible call up if necessary’ and run Toby Smith off the bench with Sio to start. Remember Toby learned his scrummaging in NZ and he played for the Chiefs when they won the title. I reckon he must be pretty capable of doing the job.

  • Hitcho

    Ah scrum science, lots of dodgy stuff goes on I there that no one really understands. love it… What I can say is I was pleased to see Hooper stay down and bound supporting his prop, helping weight distribution and stability etc. He showed he has speed to burn getting off the side without needing to prairie dog.

    On a different note geez Slipper looks tired.

    • I actually think we’re seeing less dodgy stuff and more great scrumaging.

      • Hitcho

        Come on Sully don’t take the fun out of it for me. I just meant it’s an art form.

        • Sorry. I’ll try harder.

  • onlinesideline

    brilliant – this is what we need..these illustrations / analysis is what will create discussion amongst player/kids/people generally – brilliant

    • I’ve learnt how to do slomo so hopefully the vids will get better.

  • RobC

    Yahoo! Scrummms!!!

    Im with the Ref on the WB shoves. Its their SOP, and have been doing it all game. This includes scrum 8, 9. That’s partially why Diaz (the reserve THP) has horrible bind, esp 8.

    Scrum 3 7 (4 too – from memory – doesnt play well on my computer), is the normal Pumas ‘coordinated push’ towards a hooker. Argies not allowing me to say bajada haha. Holmes not protecting Squeak enough. Scrum 7 may look like its Sio’s issue in the end. But he was de-stabilised by the SOP Pumas scrum. Once the whole WB pack was out of balance, Herrera finished them off via Sio.

    Youll notice re chasing / pre-engage. Pumas on their feed keeps their midline perfectly still. Or they just let WBs take their space a bit. Then the whole pack, just re-adjusts then drive back. SBs were the same last week vs WBs

    Thanks Sully, excellent article.

    • Who?

      Rob – did you pick up anything more from your planned analysis..? Watching Scrum 2 back – the FK against Slipper for going early – I’m more confident than ever that it should’ve been against the Argies first. First action is the LHP dropping his elbow and angling in, which saw Holmes take a knee and the Pumas shuffle back. I’d guarantee that had the situation been reversed, the Wallabies would’ve been done for ‘not taking the hit’.
      Also, worth noting, when Peyper was on the same side at the Puma 9, he fed it straight. The other two… Not so much! Arguably not even close to straight!

      • RobC

        Yeah, Im pretty sure Peyper is very aware of the WP propensity on the hit and chase. It was pretty obvious from last game vs SB

        Yes, Ayerza (LHP) grapple on Holmes was fubared as he was setting up for drive.

        That short-arm was a clear message to tell WBs they cannot drive early. I cant see clearly, but it seems from the action from Slips back, his legs are pumping hard on ‘set’ – as opposed to waiting for the pill to be fed

        • Who?

          I hate when refs have hangovers from the previous week. Refs should ref what’s in front of them, not go in with preconceived ideas. Be it that Wallaby scrums go to deck, or that the Wallabies hit and chase. It wasn’t even the same front row.
          It’s also worth noting that the field was digging up, and both teams were pumping their legs on the hit.
          I completely agree with the concept – and requirement – for ‘square and steady’ before the feed. But I don’t see any issue in just waiting for it, rather than FK’ing.

        • RobC

          Who. Didn’t mean to imply Peyper was bias. Only that he’s awake to it. Last week SB WB Owens let the WB pre engage from scrum 1, but only short armed them at 63′. That’s because SB scrum had the wood on WB anyway.

          From what I observe Puma WB, WB also pre engaged from scrum 1 onwards. I would imagine the Ref would have spoken to the two hookers / Captains of his expectations before the match.

          Yeah, soccer pitch

        • Who?

          I didn’t think you meant Peyper was clearly biased. But I do strongly dislike hearing refs refer to anything that existed outside that particular game. It’s a trap Nigel Owens has fallen into previously. I remember him saying to Sharpie in 2012 after awarding a penalty, “Same as last week!” To me, that means he’s awake to one team infringing in a particular way, but there’s no guarantee he’s equally aware of the issues the other team pushes.
          I did actually hear Peyper talk about pre-engagement. But I thought he was talking to Creevy at the time..? Having seen my U11’s team get reffed using 2013 protocols on the weekend (sort of – the ref called, “CROUCH – ENGAGE!”), I don’t see pre-engagement as being as large an issue as too big a gap was under the old protocols. It only reduces the hit.

        • RobC

          Yes, I believe that’s why it’s short armed.

          Its pretty clear, in my view anyway, WB pre engage habitually in the last couple matches. Whereas the other sides don’t.

          ABs aren’t as strong as the other countries. But they are very clever and will probably target our weakness.

    • cay_t

      Great point re hookers… it looked to me that is where the pressure was coming from, and there has been little mention of TPN impact…..

  • Cramps

    Great write up!

    I agree with the consensus that the scrums have improved from last year, but I think we’ve got some work to do before the England match. Let’s hope they keep improving.

    • RobC

      I think the opening WB scrummagers TRC last year is clearly superior to this year. The real difference is bench: availability of Sio and inclusion of Holmes.

      This TRC is clearly better than Cheiks WB scrum last year. Skelton improving by the match.

      Based on the Mendoza game, Shag and Cron may do a ‘Crusaders left right’ scrum on their shove, which is similar to Pumas. Best man to counter this probably Kepu

  • Brendan Hume

    Great write up. These “chasing” infringements give me the shits – could just as easily be called against the other team for not holding their weight. The Argies seem to use a bit of up and down movement in their front row when they really do a number on our scrum. Wallabies – if they have a solid and stable intersect with the other scrum seldom lose ground. AB’s scrum battle should be a good one as they seem to be more direct in their approach which will suit the men in gold. I did think Holmes may have done enough to keep his spot with Slipper.

  • Simon

    Yes, I’d agree with those conclusions. The only thing we haven’t really seen is what happens if we have two proper scrummaging locks like Simmons and Horwill on against the A-scrum of a powerful scrum nation like Boks or Pumas, as opposed to having Skelton. So we don’t really know whether we could stabilise the A-scrum by dropping Skelton to the bench.

    We really got hosed by the Pumas’ A-scrum though. Watching the scrums all in order there brings it home. Even the scrums you’ve given to the Wallabies were more a case of managing to clear the ball on our feed before we got demolished. And when it was a Pumas feed they just demolished us straight up.

    PS – It wasn’t Creevy in scrum 9, it was their 16.

    • Spank

      Yes it is a pity that Skelton for all his size is apparently not able to lock and push as necessary. One would imagine that with his size (if he had technique) he could hold the scrum by himself. I thus agree with you one needs to see a second row for OZ where BOTH locks know what to do and how to do it. Alternatively try another huge lock such as Arnold. Pity he has seen no game time at all.

  • Chinese Dave

    Cheers Sully, I’ve nothing of substance to add other than to say thanks for doing this, it must be hard work, but it’s very interesting and adds a lot!

  • Klaus

    To me what has to change is the mentality by a lot of coaches that if you miss the hit then collapse. Clearly this is what the Argies were doing. The only way to stop it is award a free kick immediately and then a penalty if they do it again from the first scrum not the fifth.

  • Great analysis! This is what sets G&GR apart from the others.

  • Pfitzy

    Scrum 6 – Simmons actually pops up first, as Slipper gets bent, then settles again, but too late. After that the Argies power in on Moore, which shears the power sideways and Skelton has to release or fall over. Argies were attacking the hooker all game with their starting scrum.

  • Mike

    What this shows is that the best scrummaging LHP was left at home in Australia. There is no substitute for test experience.

Argentina
@Only1Sully

Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to http://www.onesully.com.au

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